Terence conran

Dancing on Terence Conran’s grave

‘Who,’ asks Stephen Bayley, in one of the ‘S.B’ chapters of this irresistibly spiky co-written book, ‘could countenance working for a man like Terence, a man of such fluid principles, of such day-glo opportunism, of such sun-dried narcissism, guiltless hypo-crisy and Hallelujah Chorus egomania?’ Well, both S.B. and R.M. (the ad man Roger Mavity) did work for Terence Conran, in exalted positions. Both fell out with him, and both experienced at first hand all those qualities and more. In their separate chapters they take turns to express the essence of his genius and to get their own back for his disdainful treatment of them. One of his worst traits was

Terence’s stamp: The Art of Living, by Stephen Bayley, reviewed

Rumours reach me that the libel report for Stephen Bayley’s forthcoming biography of Terence Conran was longer than the book itself, so I’m hazarding a guess that Bayley has siphoned off contentious material into this purported fiction. For as he says here, kidding on the level, ‘all novels are memoirs, all memoirs are novels’, and as Conran was Bayley’s colleague at the Boilerhouse Project at the V&A, the boys indeed have ‘previous’. If the hero of The Art of Living, the brilliantly drawn Sir Eustace Dunn, is indeed Sir Terence, he comes across as a sly old fox who ‘betrayed everyone he knew’ and ‘never said please or thank you’.

Roy Strong’s towering egotism is really rather engaging

There is nothing wrong with being self-invented. The most interesting people in the world designed themselves. And in this matter Roy Strong, once upon a time the director of the Victoria & Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery, can offer a master class. He has discovered the mines of self-invention to be very deep and richly seamed with treasure. This is no less than his third bulky volume of diaries, and readers have been generously treated to autobiographies as well. While convinced that a scheming Alan Yentob conspired to keep him off the telly for more than 30 years, Roy, with his singular voice, is a national asset, recognisable from